Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life in July 2012

The First New Post In Quite A While

I don't know if some of you wondered what happened to me. I haven't been here and I've rarely been on Facebook. This usually happens when a person is too busy living their real lives to be bothered with their online lives. There have been changes, both professional and personal.

First, and most pressing, my mother is now in hospice. This means she is getting ready to pass away. Doesn't that phrase sound a little bit easier to take than "dying"?

You may know that she has degeneration of the cerebellum, and also alzheimer's disease. Two degenerative brain conditions in one! I quit my "day job" eight years ago, before the economy crashed, because my father had a stroke and couldn't take care of her alone anymore. Daddy passed four years ago. I have been her sole caregiver ever since.

She has had trouble swallowing for years. I had to puree her food and thicken her liquids. Then, a few weeks back, she stopped swallowing. I would spoon food into her mouth and it would fall back out. She wouldn't suck on a straw. The doctor told me to take her to the ER. After an eleven-hour wait, they admitted her. They gave her IV liquids and released her the next day.

When I brought her home, she seemed so much better. She ate well. I tried to feed her the most fattening and nourishing things I could find. I made milkshakes with Ensure Plus and Carnation Instant Breakfast powder with fruit and ice cream. She ate better for a while, but then she stopped swallowing again.

They told me earlier that they might have to install a feeding tube. I decided that it was either do that or she would starve. At first, they wanted to set up an appointment for the following week to evaluate her for the feeding tube. I explained that she was already skin and bones and probably wouldn't last that long. They told me to take her back to the Emergency Room.

More IV fluids. They made her look a bit more fleshed out. Then they said they couldn't install the feeding tube the way they usually do for reasons that I don't have the medical knowledge to understand. They said she wouldn't survive the surgical alternative.

So now I have her home with me. She probably weighs eighty pounds. Hospice nurses keep coming over and checking her and writing things down in their notebooks. A really kind young lady comes over and bathes her for me. A social worker came over twice and made me and my sister cry. He said things that take away all hope.

Yesterday, I got Mom to eat some of a chocolate Frosty from Wendy's. I plan to buy her another one today.

This is a picture of my mom. It was taken sometime in the early nineteen fifties. As was the custom of the day, she gave up her career when she got married. She was always there when I got home from school. I have never known her to drive a car. She is still a beautiful woman.

I am going to wait for another day to write about some of the other things going on. This is enough for now.